Four generations currently control the purchasing world. To create successful digital marketing campaigns, marketers need to understand where their target audiences spend their time online. Below is a breakdown for each generation of how marketers can effectively reach and engage with their target generation.
BABY BOOMERS (Born Between 1946 and 1964)
For many years, marketers overlooked this generation as their companies focused all efforts on selling to millennials. Baby Boomers are not a generation to overlook. This generation holds over 70% of the nation’s disposable income. As Baby Boomers make up more than half of purchasers, all companies need to understand how to reach them. Below are three aspects to keep in mind when trying to target this generation.
- SOCIAL MEDIA FOCUS – Facebook is the best channel to reach the Baby Boomer generation. 82% of Baby Boomers report having a Facebook account. They are actively on this channel, engaging with the content they find valuable. This platform gives you an excellent opportunity to engage with them. Following Facebook, LinkedIn & Pinterest have the most extensive baby boomer presence compared to other social networking platforms.
- SEARCH – When researching a company or potential product purchase, Baby Boomers utilize search engines over social media sites or video content. They look directly at websites for informational details as well as a secure platform for making purchases. If you are trying to reach the baby boomer generation, you need to pay attention to your SEO & SEM efforts.
- SCREEN TIME – When making purchases, Baby Boomers spend their time on laptops or desktops. This generation believes purchases are a commitment. They want details and want to understand the fine print.
GEN X (Born Between 1964 and 1980)
Gen X makes up a large portion of purchasing power, even though they are the smallest generation. Many Gen Xers have Baby Boomer and Millennial traits. They are tech-savvy individuals who are not loyal to brands. There are 65 million Gen X individuals out there, and they outspend millennials by 41%.
- GOOGLE – Gen X shoppers are careful researchers. They search for details like Baby Boomers and read reviews to make informed purchasing decisions. Similar to Baby Boomer targeting, companies can not overlook the power of SEO & SEM. If running paid search ads, companies should emphasize discounts, promo codes, and offers. They care about deals.
- SOCIAL ADS – The top social platforms Gen Xers spend their time on include Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. This knowledge allows marketers to produce an entire social campaign comprised of image, dynamic, carousel, and video ads. These ads centered around Gen Xers with specific interests or around the information they may be researching. These could even include review-based posts.
- AD CAUTION – One thing to keep in mind when reaching Gen Xers is that they do not appreciate invasive advertising. Many times this generation is frustrated by SMS and retargeting campaigns. They do not like the idea of brands following them online. One way to overcome this can be through incorporating email campaigns into your marketing mix. They are much more open to this type of engagement, mainly if the email includes a promotional offer.
MILLENNIALS (Born Between 1980 and 1996)
Many times companies look at the Millennial generation as young adults. This is an inaccurate belief. Millennials have grown up. They have families, houses, and are advancing in their careers. When it comes to brands, this generation looks to establish personal connections with the brands they love. They also support brands that are making a social or environmental impact.
- ONLINE PURCHASERS – Millennials make up over 50% of all online purchases. Whether looking at a computer or interacting with a SMART TV, this generation spends a lot of time on screens. If you are looking to market and sell to this generation, you need to make sure you have a user-friendly eCommerce platform in place. If you do not make this a priority, you will miss out on many potential purchases. This includes making sure you have chat support in place versus a telephone number. Phone calls can be scary.
- SOCIAL AUTHENTICITY – As millennials want to connect with their favorite brands, companies need to make sure they remain authentic and active on social media. The content businesses share should include product reviews, user-generated content, and cross-promotional opportunities with other brands and influencers. One important authenticity tactic is the art of social listening. When social users discuss your brand or product online, you need to make sure you engage with the consumer. This includes responding to happy customers as well as those who had a negative experience with your brand. This will go a long way with this generation.
- TARGET – The last piece of millennial advice is to make sure you are intentional in your advertising. Businesses need to make sure their ads are highly targeted. If an ad applies to a millennial’s interests or lifestyle, they are more likely to engage and respond. 83% of millennials find this type of content to be beneficial in their purchase decisions.
GEN Z (Born Between 1997 and 2012)
Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation. Genz prefers to purchase from brands with strong social followings and clear values, as they have grown up in the digital space. Many marketers still view this generation as children, but this can no longer be the case. Many of these individuals have begun graduating college and entering the workforce. Companies need to be prepared to sell to them.
- TELL STORIES – Gen Z does not appreciate the use of traditional marketing efforts. They want to see real, relatable stories of how your product or service has helped overcome a problem, belief, or need. For effective marketing, marketers need to utilize story-telling techniques.
- QUICK CONTENT – Advertisements need to be fast to resonate with Gen Z. A prime example of this is TikTok content. Ideally your ads should not last longer than 8 seconds when interacting with this generation. Marketers reaching Gen Z should heavily utilize Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Snapchat Stories, and TikTok.
- VARIATION – This last tactic is one that every social media marketer preaches and applies heavily to this generation. No matter what, you need to make sure your content varies per platform. You can not share the same content across Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. It will not resonate with this generation. For example, your Facebook strategy should be focused on informative content, while Instagram should center around driving inspiration. This applies to both ads and organic content. If you skip this step, you will miss the mark with Gen Zers.
All generations differ, just like all age groups differ. No matter what your marketing efforts are, you always need to keep your target audience in mind. If you don’t, you will find yourself with a campaign that falls flat.